Ranking prospects for High School football in the middle of summer is risky business, but a business that ESPN is all too happy to jump into. On the 2023 Top Jr. 300 ranking from the national sports broadcasting company, 39 students from Texas high schools made the cut, including two of the top ten prospects in the nation.
The top ranked Texas student-athlete is Billy Ryan High’s Anthony Hill, who came in as a four-star recruit and made the list at number five overall. Hill plays outside linebacker. ESPN gave Hill a score of 89, just missing the five-star post. Only three students received a five-star rating.
According to ESPN.com, Hill has offers from 27 schools including TCU, Baylor, Texas, and Texas A&M. Hill has not announced his plans for college and is undecided about where he wants to play.
247Sports.com puts Hill as a five-star recruit and ranks him 11th in the nation overall and number one in his position group. He is also the top-ranked player in Texas high school football.
The other top ten recruit from Texas is David Hicks from Allen High School. Hicks earned a score of 88. Hicks plays defensive tackle. He has yet to announce college plans, but has offers from 24 schools including Baylor, TCU, Texas, Texas A&M, and Texas Tech.
247Sports.com lists Hicks as the 26th national prospect and number two in Texas behind Hill. Hill began his high school career at Katy Morton Ranch and is considered the sixth-ranked defensive tackle in the nation.
The top ranked prospect according to ESPN from the DFW region is Javien Toviano coming in at 26 in the Jr. 300 poll. Toviano plays cornerback for James Martin High School. He has not committed to a college at this time.
The Jr. 300 ranking identified Milton Georgia defensive end Lebbeus Overton as the number one prospect. Overton is a monster at 6’5” and 265 lbs and he is anticipated to be pushing offensive linesmen around in a Sooners uniform in 2023-24.
He is closely followed by Arch Manning at number two. Manning is the nephew of NFL pros Eli and Peyton and the grandson of namesake Archie.
Landing high on the ESPN Jr. 300 does not ensure success, but numerous players ranked in the top 300 have made it to the NFL after competing at the college level. Players like Jeffrey Okudah, the 2017 number 7 on ESPN’s Jr. 300 list that year and a Grand Prairie, Texas product, was selected third overall in the 2021 NFL draft.
Ranking lists like this from ESPN serve to increase interest and help scouts, but it’s also a great way for fans to get a better understanding of where some of the best college players learned the game while playing at the high school level. For many of the student-athletes, rankings like these from 247Sports..com and ESPN may be the difference between giving it their all and giving up.